Dear Friends, this is a lengthy newsletter due to the fact that A LOT has taken place over the last week that requires our prayer and discernment. Please read through all the material and note the updates from session and announcements at the end.
REGARDING THE ATTACK ON A MUSLIM FAMILY in LONDON, ON:
Like many of you my heart breaks at the news of the intentional attack on a Muslim family while they were out walking in London, Ontario. May we not only mourn alongside all who have been affect, may we not only stand in solidarity with the Muslim community but also may we learn from one another and discover the intricate way in which we are similar and see the ways in which we are all created in the image of God. My graduate thesis focused on the importance of inter-faith dialogue as a way for the church to exist in the future. Even though I wrote it 14 years ago I still feel that way. Interfaith dialogue is central to who we are as Christians and will help us be a better church.
REGARDING RECENT DISCOVERY IN KAMLOOPS:
Speaking of trying to be a better church a few of you asked for a copy of the words I shared on Sunday regarding the recent discovery of 215 unidentified graves of children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Throughout it’s history the Presbyterian Church in Canada ran 11 residential schools on behalf of the Canadian Government including one in Port Alberni and another in Ahousat until 1925. The last two schools run by the church were transferred to the government in 1969.
Here is the recent statement from the Presbyterian Church in Canada:
We grieve with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, who has just released news that the unidentified graves of 215 children have been found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C. The devastating pain and loss this news triggers are not isolated to Kamloops, but is shared by all who lost family, friends or community members to Indian Residential Schools. So many Indigenous children never came home from the schools where they were forcibly taken, and the weight of the trauma that loss has wreaked in Indigenous communities, in which the church shared a large role, is still causing intense harm today.
In humility, the church calls for a time of prayer and lament to honour the lives of those children whose graves were just found and for all family, friends and communities who have lost loved ones through the Indian Residential School system—for whom this news opens fresh wounds. We also call for a time of reflection and re-commitment to reconciliation. As we approach the month of June, which is National Indigenous History Month, we encourage all church members to reflect on the harmful history in which we have been involved, and from that reflection seek renewed ways to work for healing and reconciliation with Indigenous people.
On June 8 the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada passed the following motions:
- The Presbyterian Church in Canada holds two parallel definitions of marriage and recognizes that faithful, Holy Spirit filled, Christ centred, God honouring people can understand marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman or as a covenant relationship between two adult persons. That congregations, sessions, ruling and teaching elders be granted liberty of conscience and action on marriage.
- It was also passed that LGBTQI people (whether married or single) can be ordained and are welcome to serve as ministers and ruling elders.
I know that there is a diversity of opinions within our congregation but I celebrate that these motions allow for this diversity. I celebrate that I have family and friends who can feel welcomed in our denomination regardless of orientation or opinion. I am pleased to uphold these recommendations based on my own interpretations of scripture but also find joy in the ability to listen to others in their interpretations. Please don’t hesitate if you would like to have a discussion regarding full inclusion with me.
The All God’s Creatures Bible study continues this Thursday at 7pm over Zoom. Our discussions were so fruitful last week that we didn’t get through all of the first week study and we decided to pick up where we left off. I have attached the Scripture readings and questions handout we will be following on Thursday. Below is the Zoom info:
Comox Valley Presbyterian Church is inviting you
to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: All God’s Creatures Bible Study
Time: Jun 10, 2021 07:00 PM Vancouver
Every week on Thu, 3 occurrence(s)
Jun 10, 2021 07:00 PM
Jun 17, 2021 07:00 PM
Jun 24, 2021 07:00 PM
Join Zoom Meeting
Bible Study June 10
Meeting ID: 846 8291 7159
UPDATES FROM SESSION:
The Session met on June 8th to discuss returning to in-person worship. Due to the upcoming pre-recorded shared services and August holidays it was decided that we would hold in-person worship the last three Sundays of the month from June to July (June 27, July 25 and Aug 29). Priority will be given to those without internet. We will follow all covid protocols which at this stage means no group singing, wearing masks at all times (unless you are at the lectern/pulpit speaking) and keeping 2m apart. Registration will also be required. To register go to:
The Session is excited to support Alison van Schie of Alongside Caregiver Consulting who has offered to provide a support group for caregivers (spouses, children, friends) at and for our church. Further information to come.